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HUMAN WORLD WITHOUT GODS ▼ MercatorNet: Fearsome threats

MercatorNet: Fearsome threats

Fearsome threats

France must resist the temptation to sink to the level of its ISIS foes.
Michael Cook | Nov 16 2015 | comment 

A French fighter jet prepares to take off from a base in the United Arab Emirates   
At least 129 people have died after coordinated attacks on several venues in Paris. President Hollande has declared a state of emergency, imposed border controls and called out hundreds of troops.

ISIS has proudly taken responsibility for the atrocity. In its communiqué it uttered fearsome threats:

Let France and those who walk in its path know that they will remain on the top of the list of targets of the Islamic State, and that the smell of death will never leave their noses as long as they lead the convoy of the Crusader campaign, and dare to curse our Prophet, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, and are proud of fighting Islam in France and striking the Muslims in the land of the Caliphate with their planes, which did not help them at all in the streets of Paris and its rotten alleys. This attack is the first of the storm and a warning to those who wish to learn.
Not to be outdone, President François Hollande uttered his own fearsome threats: France would be “merciless” in responding to “the barbarians of ISIS”. Yesterday ten French fighters bombed targets in the ISIS capital of Raqqa, in Syria.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve hit an even more ferocious note:

The riposte will be on a huge scale, it will be total. anyone who attacks the Republic, then the Republic will be merciless towards them and their accomplices. Terrorists will never destroy the Republic, because the Republic will destroy them.
The aftermath of November 13 will test the mettle of France – as it would any nation. Hostility towards the large Muslim population will grow, more French Muslims may become radicalised, refugees will be unwelcome, and the government could be provoked into putting boots on the ground in the heartland of ISIS.

Terrorism depersonalises people, turning innocent men and women into faceless, infrahuman enemies.

The Islamic creed is not necessarily violent – hundreds of millions of Muslims live peaceful lives and are horrified by events like this. Most of the people killed by ISIS have been Muslims. But it seems undeniable that within Islam there is a recessive gene for savagery which uses Allah as an ideological pretext for bloodlust. All too often there have been Muslim movements which condone the murderous rage which characterises ISIS.

To steel young men to the horror of slaughter, ISIS teaches them to see all of their victims as non-persons -- in this case “crusaders” living in a city which was “ the capital of prostitution and obscenity”.

The temptation for France – and other Western nations – will be to depersonalise the jihadis. The West already finds it difficult to empathise with the agonies of distant and darker people. In Lebanon, for instance, two suicide bombers blew themselves up last Thursday in a southern suburb of Beirut, killing 43 and wounding hundreds. It was just a flicker in the newspapers.

“When my people died, no country bothered to light up its landmarks in the colors of their flag,” Elie Fares, a Lebanese doctorcomplained on his blog. “When my people died, they did not send the world into mourning. Their death was but an irrelevant fleck along the international news cycle, something that happens in those parts of the world.”

To say nothing of Nigeria’s bloody fight with Boko Haram, where far more people have been butchered.

Western nations may be more orderly, efficient and prosperous, but they, too, can succumb to the temptation to depersonalise and demonise their foes.

The post-Christian West has it own recessive gene for savagery. From its roots in the Judaeo-Christian tradition it inherited the idea of universe which was intelligible because it participated in the divine reason. Christian reason became a powerful tool for understanding the universe, thus underpinning the development of science. As long as the West believed in God, morality limited possible applications of increasingly powerful technology.

Reason without God was dangerous. Men saw other men not as reflections of their Maker, but as cannon fodder. After the Enlightenment, then, came the Battle of the Somme, Auschwitz, the Gulag, Hiroshima and napalmed villages in Vietnam. When governments lost sight of the divine spark they hurled their enemies – and even their own citizens -- into gigantic mincing machines. These may have been more detached and antiseptic than the knives of the jihadis, but they were far more lethal.

Obviously France must respond forcefully to this atrocity, but without losing its liberté, égalité, et fraternité by lapsing into the very barbarism it wants to obliterate.

It will be difficult to resist the temptation.

Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet. 
- See more at:


After an ISIS attack in Paris which has left at least 129 dead, hundreds of articles have been written explaining what inspires the movement and what attracts so many young people to it. But the answer is that we just do not understand what makes it tick, what explains its murderous "success". One of the best articles I have read on the group appeared in the New York Review of Books a few months ago. An anonymous expert confessed that he was baffled:
I have often been tempted to argue that we simply need more and better information. But that is to underestimate the alien and bewildering nature of this phenomenon. To take only one example, five years ago not even the most austere Salafi theorists advocated the reintroduction of slavery; but ISIS has in fact imposed it. Nothing since the triumph of the Vandals in Roman North Africa has seemed so sudden, incomprehensible, and difficult to reverse as the rise of ISIS. None of our analysts, soldiers, diplomats, intelligence officers, politicians, or journalists has yet produced an explanation rich enough—even in hindsight—to have predicted the movement’s rise.
Nonetheless we have to try to make sense of ISIS so that we can respond effectively to its challenge. We have published two articles below. 

Michael Cook 

Fearsome threats
Michael Cook | FEATURES | 16 November 2015
France must resist the temptation to sink to the level of its ISIS foes.
War comes home
John Keane | FEATURES | 16 November 2015
Surely there will be no peace until we find other ways of compromise and reconciliation?
Live to text? Well, it’s your neck ...
Denyse O'Leary | CONNECTING | 16 November 2015
If our index fingers are getting far more exercise than our legs, we are not living healthy.
Are your kids learning to think critically?
Thomas Lickona | FAMILY EDGE | 16 November 2015
Odds are they are not learning this at school.
Secrets of a happy marriage
Shannon Roberts | DEMOGRAPHY IS DESTINY | 16 November 2015
Because divorce rates are too high.
Why Paul Ryan matters for parents
Melissa Langsam Braunstein | FEATURES | 15 November 2015
The Speaker's work-life balance is good for everyone.

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the dispreciau says: God is not on Earth these days ... sorry. November 16, 2015.-

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